The incident involving Earl Thomas and his wife, which resulted in no charges for the Ravens safety, may nevertheless create a problem for the player.
According to Jonas Shaffer and Jessica Anderson of the Baltimore Sun, the team is exploring whether Thomas violated his contract. A team official speaking to the Sun on condition of anonymity also said that at times in 2019 Ravens coaches believed Thomas strayed from the “team” concept, and that he struggled to grasp the defense, putting him at odds with teammates.
The more precise question would be whether Thomas did anything that would void the $10 million fully guaranteed salary Thomas is due to earn this year, allowing the team to cut Thomas without financial consequence. Releasing him after June 1 would trigger a $5 million cap charge this year and a $10 million charge next year, due to the $20 million signing bonus he received in 2019.
Without studying the precise language of the contract, it’s hard to envision a set of facts that would allow the team to void the $10 million guaranteed payment for 2020. Thomas wasn’t arrested or charged, and he won’t miss any mandatory activities due to the incident. That said, if (as it appears) Thomas failed to disclose the incident to the team when it occurred, that could potentially fall within the scope of the language in the contract allowing the guarantee to be scrapped.